written by
Cate Lawrence

Developers Tell Codemotion How They Improve Their Work (and Life)

CTO 5 min read


By now, you've probably failed at least some of your new year's resolutions to get more sleep, eat better, or exercise more. But what there was a way you could set resolutions to also benefit your career? At Codemotion we've enjoyed some fantastic presentations over the years from developers about how they set goals, work better and transform themselves personally and professionally:

Schedule your goals

Adolfo Sanz De Diego, founder of Hackathon Lovers delivered a talk in Spanish offering concrete strategies and resources for learning, time management and goal setting. (You can also take a look at the accompanying slides). He's a fan a time management method which involves moving planned tasks and projects out of the mind by recording them externally and then breaking them into actionable work items. He suggests setting measurable goals in writing that you "evaluate at least once a year". Whether personal or professional, Adolfo breaks his goals into scheduled actions such as shopping for healthy food or attending the gym.  He explained:

"At least once a week you have to get in front of the calendar and to prioritize and schedule the because if they are not prioritized in your agenda, you don't achieve them" Organising documents and calendars can be shared with friends and neighbours to lock in events like trips to the cinema or going for a beer to ensure good work-life balance with people less likely to flake.

Make this the year of peer code review

Do you regularly deliver code that nobody else has seen? Does anyone even know your production code, or has everyone forgotten what it did? Code review is one of the most interesting and unknown practices in software development.

Benefits of Code Reviews

  • Knowledge is shared around
  • Disseminate coding culture 

  • Status updates are much faster
  • Code reviews keep you honest: "You don't code the same way when you know that someone else is going to look at your changes you know you are more likely to take it, to be honest.
  • Time: "It takes a long time, but not doing code reviews even takes longer".

Alex Fernandez explains,

"Sure, there are unit tests, but you are only testing a small part of the functionality. But what if you pass the unit test but forget the integration test? You can have external tests but they are very manual. Pair programming is a fine technique but doesn't always unearth errors."

Many devs traditionally aspire to have their code reviews by the senior team but he suggests juniors to review your code "and ask one question" as they are likely to spot something you might not expect.

Check out Alex's slides to find out more.

Alex encourages everyone to read code:

"Very often reading code is much more important than writing it because you learn how to do it right."

Alex wrote a tool that combined the API's of Trello and GitHub  "so when I did a pull request it notified my process and created an item in a Trello board. When it was reviewed, it moved automatically. When it was approved and merged it also moved.

Work as a Professional

work with professional focus

Gabriele Lana believes ethics and professionalism are integral components of programming. He spoke about the phenomenon of roles where: "your role and salary are well defined where you don't have much room to do something different so the only way you have to improve your situation is to change job, to change career.  So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation? Well, the easiest thing is to comply with the situation and stay where you are doing the same thing over and over again and that's the magic, that's the beauty of it, you become the perfect commodity closing the loop."

He suggests:

"If we had strong ethics in our profession that loop wouldn't exist. If you are bound by the ethics of your profession to constantly improve yourself, then the pool of mediocrity that feeds the loop will dry."

How to become a professional?

Gabriele espouses the value of studying both pragmatic (right now) and foundational (long term) knowledge. He suggests that once you can afford, you should invest in your own education. The is a value shared by Aldolfo who downloads educational YouTube videos onto his phone to watch travelling to and from work.

You can also check out Gabriele's slides.

Work with Intention and Attention

"Did you know that we switch applications 566 times a day? We are losing intentionality in the way we work ". Like many, Gabriele bemoans:

"The growth of open office is where deep work goes to die.  It's really difficult to keep the focus in an environment that is built and optimized for collaborative work."

Allocate time intentionally between collaborative work and deep work. He advises:

" You need to do that in a public way so that the other people that you collaborate with can plan their time too or maybe even better you can do it a team level. You can say the morning is for collaborative work and the afternoons is for deep work or the other way around."

Aldolfo also suggests muting notifications from Telegram, WhatsApp, and Slack to ensure deep focus. He limits meetings, ensuring they have a time limit, clear agendas and end with definite decisions.

Learn more about work, jobs, and careers of the future at Codemotion Amsterdam

Looking at what’s next for your career? Come join us at the next Codemotion Amsterdam in May. Our conferences attract developers, IT professionals with different backgrounds and levels of experience. Therefore, we provide our attendees with technical excellence and cutting-edge technologies. We also provide hands-on activities, best practices and case studies to allow them to grow into even better developers.

Our attendees are driven by a great passion for coding, a desire to share their knowledge and to make new personal and business connections to lead the innovation around them. They are literally coding the future of us all, in the smartest, coolest, best environment, Codemotion.

time management code review Codemotion Amsterdam developer talks in spanish career development